Evo, the ladykiller?

It may be carnival time (and thus, the silly season) in Bolivia, but apparently some don’t find anything funny about it…or at least, not the way the president comported himself during Friday’s kick-off celebrations:

Opposition legislators and feminists criticized the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, for participating in a carnival party in which they sang machista lyrics that alluded to the underwear of his female ministers, and to his supposed reputation as a skirt-chaser.

Opposition senator Jeanine Añez told EFE today that the verses “were very coarse, totally out of line”, and should not be accepted even in jest. She considers that the lyrics encapsulate the personality of Morales, who has been accused many times of being a machista.

“Everything they sang, which he enjoyed to the fullest because he looked satisfied, it seems to me like a lack or respect for women. We’ll see if the women of the Movement Toward Socialism [Morales’s party] say anything about it, because whenever anything like that comes from the president, all they do is smile,” said senator Añez.

“This good-hearted president takes off all the lady ministers’ panties”; “Our president is very adventurous, he only wants one [woman] and ends up eating three”: “Our president is a ladykiller, and exchanges girls two for three”, are some of the verses sung on Friday by musicians at the doors of the government palace before Morales, whose cabinet has seven female ministers.

Morales laughed at most of the verses and sang along with the chorus: “Bartolina Sisa was very famous, for that reason I take them directly to my bed”, an allusion to an organization for indigenous women leaders loyal to the head of state.

“Now the ministers walk past the balconies, begging alms for their panties”, or “I’m the president and my name is Evo, for that reason I want a new palace”, the president himself sang.

“Not even humor or the carnival are excuses enough for such a profound exercise in humiliation and denigration,”, feminist María Galindo told EFE.

Galindo maintains that the verse about the Bartolina Sisa organization is “a nasty fighting kick” against indigenous women in politics, and she criticized how Morales’s female ministers and the presidents of the Senate and the Deputies, also female, expressed no protest against the act.

“They weren’t able to back out, and worse yet, they’re women who call themselves feminists,” Galindo said.

Translation mine.

Methinks that these opposition so-called feminists need to lighten up and maybe get their rabies shots. Those lines are tame compared to a lot of lyrics I’ve heard sung (or rapped) in dead earnest up here. And if you watch the video, you’ll see that the entire crowd is laughing along with Evo. Half of the people in that crowd are female!

And, I reiterate: It’s CARNIVAL. You know, the silly season? The time when people dress and act very different from their usual selves? When they take a lot of good-natured ribbing for things they may or may not have done? They do that in Germany at the Rose Monday parades (which were today), and at which even the Chancellor herself, Angela Merkel, has come in for a good deal of teasing that is at least as pointed as this, if not much more so.

Evo is still unmarried, true, but I suspect it’s more due to the nature of his very busy, highly political job than to any actual skirt-chasing tendencies. And yes, he does have at least one out-of-wedlock child that I know of. But THAT many women? If he found time to squeeze them all in for real, I’d be seriously surprised. You don’t get to be the man who pulled South America’s poorest country out of the pit by just lounging around getting laid a lot. Before he was first elected to the Bolivian congress, he was a coca-growers’ union leader, and as this documentary makes clear, it’s a hard-working, hard-fighting union indeed, one with six federations. Three of them consisting of, and led by, women.

Does he seem machista or disrespectful to YOU? I get quite a different impression of him. Mostly as quite a modest and diffident kind of guy. And VERY hard-working.

BTW, I love how we get glimpses of Evo’s sense of humor in there. Yes, he cracks the odd naughty one, but his flirtatious little jokes are tame compared to some of the ones I’ve been known to make. And remember, people, I’m a feminist too. I know a machista when I smell one. Evo might be a sexy single guy, but I doubt very much that he’s the big bad wolf these very exaggerated verses make him out to be. And that’s why everyone, including the women in the crowd, laughed along with him.

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